Red Lodge, Montana

Cody Quarterline part XV: Breakfast and a Makeover

The Cody Quarterline story began in April of 2005, as a spoof article. Since then, it’s been passed around from one volunteer tale-spinner to another. Each new author has freedom to do whatever he/she likes with Cody, and the tale has taken some strange twists over the years. We still don’t know what’s going on! We do know, however, that we’ve got some creative people in town with time on their hands and maybe a few too many Mickey Spillane movies under their belts.

Part XV
by Edward Terry

“Damn!” Cody exclaimed as he stumbled on another rock. The boots he had gotten on dollar-a-bag day could not be laced properly due to the missing eyehook and so his steps were somewhat iffy.

He was mostly certain that he was traveling in the right direction—mostly. The past few weeks of his life were enough to disorient almost anyone. Shoot, come to think of it even the last hour would be enough. Most people never jump out of a truck—so that a buffalo could hit it—trying to dump a girlfriend—who was cloned. Well, there was Dwayne, but Cody didn’t think his old girlfriend was a clone.

“At last!” thought Cody. As he came over a rise of sagebrush. There before him was Rojie’s camp, that was what Rojie liked to call it. Stuck out here in the middle of nowhere the collection of cabins and pole buildings was a welcome sight, and he had made by sunrise—in time for the fabulous pancake breakfast! The cook at camp, Skeeter, was known in these parts for the incredible pancakes she created. Everyone knew that she heated the syrup but no one knew how she could get them so light and fluffy. Cody headed toward the mess hall.

As he got in line to get a tray, Cody reflected how this place had evolved. This used to be a militia training ground belonging to The Sons of the Brothers of the Fathers of Fairness or something along those lines, whose organization folded. Probably had too long a name. Any way, Rojie’s brother-in-law had loaned him the money to buy the place. Rojie had turned the place into a camp for inner city kids who had no idea how to use cosmetics. His thinking was that if they were ever to become “beautiful people” they should get early training.

While he was debating on getting a second serving of pancakes, the head of the lipstick department sat down next to him. “Hi, Co, long time no see.” This natural redhead was always a tease to Cody, and it was nice to see her freckles and crooked smile again. “What you been up to? Staying out of trouble?”

Cody opened his mouth to speak, changed his mind and just said “No.”

Ruby was just the one Cody had wanted to see. He needed her help. She had more skill with lipstick, mascara, and blush than any rancher in the county. “Ru,” Cody explained, “My mom is slipping into senility and hasn’t seen my sister in years. She keeps asking about her and wants to see her but sis is doing 7-to-12 at Sing Sing so it’s not going to happen. What I want to do is dress up like my sister, surprise my mom and make her happy as I am taking her to the nursing home.”

The open mouth and blankish stare from Ruby told Cody that she would need a moment for his story to sink into the recognition section of her brain. Trouble was, this is the most plausible story he could create. How could he tell her that he had to go in disguise to see his mother?

How do you explain that you have been hiding for years, called your mom to pick up a very important package (linen wrapped), and forgot to tell her where you are! He knew that by now she was probably being watched and would be spotted before he got near her. This was the only way.

Ruby shifted her position in her chair. “Well, aren’t you the considerate son? I don’t know anyone else who would do this for his mother. No, no one I know.” She smiled that crooked smile and told Cody she would help in any way she could.

They went back to her salon station and as Cody settled into her chair, Ruby asked about his sister.

“Well, her posture isn’t as good and she is more of a summer than I am.” “Oooookaaayyyy” she said.

“Can you give me more so that I know what I am going for?”

“She looks mostly like me only female.” Cody lied. How could he explain he needed to look good enough to be a woman—not too good looking to draw attention, and not so ugly to draw attention either. Ruby started to work.

Cody’s eyes wandered around the room, noting the animal heads spaced out on the walls. He couldn’t help but smile at the moose wearing lipstick. City kids—guess they need something to practice on but any fool knows better than that. All a moose needs is a little blush and some hair product. Now an antelope on the other hand….

The creaking door should have put Cody on instant alert, but somehow he missed it. The first bullet turned Ruby’s white smock into a mockery of her freckled shoulders. The second one spun Cody on to the floor. Lying there, unable to move, he saw a face he knew come into focus above him. “Hi ya, kid.”

The Leopard leveled the .45 at Cody’s head. “Wait,” said Cody. “Will you at least tell me what has been going on here? Who is my friend and who has plotted against me? Please tell me the truth before I die!”

“Truth! You can’t handle the truth!!’’ The Leopard shouldn’t have been this upset—he had the gun.

Why is he in a marine general’s uniform?

Cody made a jerk as he woke up. “Man I hate that Few Good Men dream.” Ruby had stepped back but was now coming forward with brush and pencil. “That’s okay, Co, lots of people go to sleep in that padded chair. Now as I was saying, my cousin, you know, the one who is also my twin, well, he and his girlfriend—the one who drives a taxi in Miami—”

“Oh, yeah,” thought Cody. “Miami.”

[Has Cody already met Ruby’s twin/cousin? Who would play Ruby in the movie? Was his dream about the Leopard prophetic? Wouldn’t he look even better with a little more eyeliner? For the answers to these questions and more, check back in vain next month when another writer takes up the saga.]

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